Cumbria’s only artisan gold medal winner at this year’s World’s Original Marmalade Awards, held at Dalemain House near Penrith, Jeannie Murray, explains that her hardworking pans are usually “one on and one in the wash”. That’s how her business, Jeannie’s Kitchen Garden, has grown from a small stall at the gate of her Bampton home, to supplying retailers in Penrith and the Eden Valley, plus selling online.
She entered the festival earlier this year on a whim having bumped into its founder Jane Hasell-McCosh on the train to Edinburgh. It was in the artisan section for marmalade with interesting additions that she found success, winning gold for her version, flavoured with Islay malt whisky and Hebridean seasalt.
The salt crystals, produced on the Isle of Skye by wind-drying seawater, are sprinkled into the mix at the final stage.
“I put the salt in when I’m bottling,” says Jeannie. “So that people get the crunch.”
Many of her core products make use of clever flavour pairings: the Really Raspberry jam contains the berry liqueur Chambord and there’s also rhubarb and rose or plum, rum and walnut jams.
Jeannie, originally from Edinburgh, says she was a late convert to the art of preserving, only taking it up seriously after she and her husband, Richard Wright, moved to their stylishly converted chapel home in Bampton, near Shap, eight years ago.
She began selling preserves at her gate, in return for contributions to Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland, to cope with gluts of veg from her garden.
Jeannie says that products must look as good as they taste. It’s for this reason that her Proper Piccalilli is hand cut.
Jeannie’s products are stocked at J & J Graham of Penrith, as well as shops and tearooms in Askham, Shap, Morland and Bampton.
The full version of this feature appeared in the June 2018 edition of Cumbria Life